"A Table!"
Here Alexander is "sopping" his plate.  It may be an ugly sounding work in English, but "essuyer son assiette" has a very different echo in French.  Using the bread to absorb the delicious sauces that often accompany a French dish is a true culinary delight.  It might be frowned on only in the most formal of circumstances.  In fact leaving the sauce on the plate could even be considered insulting for the person who prepared it.  Good boy, Alexander!
(See another note below.)

As you know, some cultures use their fingers in many parts of the meal.  Bread, however, is the only "food" that the French would touch with their fingers during a normal meal.  In particular meat and vegetables are never "handled" directly.  Now you should know from this that French fries are not finger food.  If you have a French person in your home, you'll have to spend some time explaining that a hamburger is not eaten with a knife and fork.  As always, there are exeptions.  Shrimp and other shell fish are the prime examples.  The safest way out is to watch what others do and do the same.  The only problem here is that as a guest, you may be invited to begin the ingestions.  In this case, just lay back and say "Après vous".  (Back to top of page)